Web Comics Don’t Have To Be Solo Projects

Carol22

Sure, this may sound obvious, but if you’ve never considered it before it may really help you from just getting exhausted. Sometimes we need breaks from our schedule, or even just some creative input from a source we can trust. This week we’ll discuss some helpful suggestions to get you that time you need to refresh your story and why that sort of time might just be what you need.

I can’t count the times I’ve found myself busy with something else and come up with ways to improve other projects. Naturally, it’s more important to actually complete work than just wait for great ideas to come along, but sometimes you need that space. When we’re in a groove that works great and you can just keep going. When you reach the end of the current story you’re excited about though, things can get stale or frustrating. So what can you do?

One idea to buy you some time is to see if any of your fans or friends want to do some guest comic spots. The good thing about guest comics is, depending on how open you are to the idea, is that it gives the other person generally free reign to create what they want. Naturally you’ll want the content to fit your comics rating and not suddenly fly into adult content. Which is something you’ll want to make clear at the start too. There’s nothing worse than thinking you have some extra content for your family friendly comic only to find out the submitted guest comic is way over what you’d allow on your site.

Be sure to make things clear and discuss ground rules with the guest comic artist if there are things you won’t allow. Normally guest comics are free submissions used to promote the guest artists projects. It’s like they’re buying ad space with their time. The fans of the main comic see what you’ve done in your guest comic submission and in turn it’s noted what you draw in the comments section or such. If their fans like it, they may head over and check out your comic too.

Another way to include people in your projects is character design. A lot of us love control over this topic. There’s nothing like spreading out your references, trying a bunch of different ideas, and seeing what you can come up with. But what if you’re schedule is just packed and you wrote in that “must have” additional character in about two pages? Talk to someone you trust and get them to help you out.

Why someone you trust? Odds are you’re probably working on a project that uses your own characters and you’d like to keep it that way. While parody is acceptable, the last thing you want is to unknowingly include a character that’s just a clone of another copyrighted character you didn’t know about. Usually this sort of thing isn’t done on purpose if you’re just asking a friend to throw something together, but after you post your comic it can be awkward to learn from your fans that it’s an established character.

I actually prefer to work with my character designer because she comes up with ideas that I just wouldn’t think of. That and because of the different perspective it can create characters that you may not normally work with. This sort of inspiration can really help out. Maybe that long lost sister you were about to add into your comic looks a lot nerdier in your friends design. In turn you may consider adding that in as a plot point. Don’t forget, this is only design. You’re taking these characters and bringing them into your style. This is to save you time, and also get some feedback from another creative source you trust.

I’ll get into it more in the future, but of course writer and artist teams are the biggest combination for non-solo projects. I wanted to point out ways to help manage your time a bit more this week and get yourself some potentially much needed breathing room. So what are your experiences with guest comics? Ever had a character designer help you out?


6 Comments

  1. DemonDan January 31, 2014 6:06 pm 

    Well I work as part of a writer-artist team on my comic, which is awesome. Not only do I get access to high quality art (which I couldn’t do on my own), I also get my artist’s invaluable input into comic production and story boarding, which he has done much more of than I have.

    Guest comics have also been really fun and good, but since the tone of my comic is so serious, I feel like I can’t put them in the official archives inbetween canonical strips. I do give them a place of prominence in my fan-art section and blog though.

    • Les Major January 31, 2014 10:12 pm 

      That is true. Demon Archives is a good example of a comic that wouldn’t really fit with guest comics. You two could add in some splash pages, but even then a lot of detail goes into that artwork. I guess that’s a good point that guest comics don’t work with all web comics. :)

  2. DemonArchives January 31, 2014 7:39 pm 

    We did have a secondary artist at the beginning who did a lot of the concept designs for some of the armors, enemies, weapons, vehicles. That was a fun experience.

    Now we are taking advantage of Dan as writer, Seba as artist, and me as money-bags/web. But we’ll save that feedback for your promised future article: “of course writer and artist teams are the biggest combination for non-solo projects” :D

    • Les Major January 31, 2014 10:15 pm 

      For sure! Very true too. Dan brought up a good point too that guest comics don’t really fit the flow of Demon Archives for example. I have to admit, it would be confusing to be reading through the comic and then see a vastly different tone and style taking over for a few weeks in the middle of a gripping story lol.

      It’s good to see there is a group of you working on the comic! There’s a lot to work with there and especially with Demon Archives it’s good to have more people involved.

      • DemonArchives February 1, 2014 12:08 am 

        Man, we’re gonna have to bring Delta-V over from our website to kick start your comment sections here. That man is a boss, and its getting a little weird it just being Dan, Les and I.

        • Les Major February 1, 2014 12:18 pm 

          LOL always appreciated. :) Hopefully we’ll start getting a little social group on the go here.

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